Flashback: When the greatest Celtic team of all team came to Flower Lodge

Flashback: When the greatest Celtic team of all team came to Flower Lodge
Celtic winger Jimmy Johnstone beats Hibs' Sonny Sweeney to the ball.

THE sad passing of Dave Bacuzzi during the week evoked memories of the time the famous Glasgow Celtic European Cup winning side of 1967 played at Flower Lodge, 50 years ago.

Younger readers will ask European Cup and Flower Lodge?

The Champions’ League replaced the European Cup, which was the preserve of champion clubs only and not now where teams in fourth are considered ‘champions’.

And Flower Lodge, once owned by the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) is now Páirc Uí Rinn.

Bacuzzi created a stir in his appointment as the new Hibs manager in May because of his unusual name for starters and his Hollywood looks.

Celtic, who had the prefix of Glasgow in this country to differentiate from Belfast Celtic from another generation, were on a whirlwind Irish tour before the start of their league defence in Scotland.

Captains Dave Bacuzzi and Billy McNeill exchange pennants while officials Eddie Mullins, Derry Barrett and Owen McCarthy smile for the camera.
Captains Dave Bacuzzi and Billy McNeill exchange pennants while officials Eddie Mullins, Derry Barrett and Owen McCarthy smile for the camera.

The game was played on Sunday, August 2 and attracted a crowd of between 6,000 and 8,000 depending on your choice of newspaper.

The Cork Examiner opted for the lower figure while the Glasgow based, Daily Record, quoted 8,000, according to their own reporter covering the game.

Both agreed on one thing, however, the performance of Hibs keeper Joe O’Grady was worthy of the main headline over the following day’s match reports.

‘O’Grady keeps Celtic score down to three’ exclaimed the Examiner headline with the Daily Record opting for ‘Super Keeper Can’t Stop Celtic’ in bold capital letters.

For some reason the Irish Independent edition on the Irish Newspaper Archives has no account of any soccer matches from that weekend.

The late Dave Bacuzzi flying high for Cork Hibs against Celtic at Flower Lodge in July 1971. 
The late Dave Bacuzzi flying high for Cork Hibs against Celtic at Flower Lodge in July 1971. 

The old Irish Press, though, went for ‘Hibernians A Tough Nut For Celtic To Crack’ with O’Grady again gaining favourable mention.

It was an era when famous English and Scottish clubs played friendlies against Irish sides to prepare for their own domestic season.

Celtic, in fact, had been in Limerick the previous Friday night and hit six even though home keeper Kevin Fitzpatrick stopped as many again.

The same day as their visit to Cork, Everton were in Dublin defeating Shamrock Rovers 4-2 while Stoke City had a 3-0 win over Finn Harps before a crowd of 5,000 in Ballybofey.

Goalmouth action from the Cork Hibernians v Glasgow Celtic match at Flower Lodge.
Goalmouth action from the Cork Hibernians v Glasgow Celtic match at Flower Lodge.

Celtic were managed by the great Jock Stein, who had steered them to European glory three years earlier, becoming the first club from these islands to lift the famous trophy.

Celtic started as if there was going to be a repeat of the Limerick result, scoring twice in the opening half.

‘They were driven on by the immaculate George Connolly from midfield and with Jimmy Johnstone in sparkling form on the right wing, Willie Wallace and Bobby Lennox combining cleverly in the middle, Celtic threatened to over-run Hibs’, wrote the Examiner.

Lennox claimed the first goal after 18 minutes, set-up by Connolly, and finishing with an angled shot from the right to the far corner of the net.

Ten minutes later Celtic made it 2-0 from a dubious penalty, tucked away by Tommy Gemmell off O’Grady’s hands.

Hibs dug in, however, and with O’Grady in inspirational form, restricted Celtic to one more goal, scored by Lennox from 25 yards.

Stein was happy afterwards: “It has been a good trip. It was just the right tune-up for Manchester City on Tuesday,” he said.

Jimmy Johnstone and his Glasgow Celtic team mates begin a round of golf at Little Island.
Jimmy Johnstone and his Glasgow Celtic team mates begin a round of golf at Little Island.

CORK HIBERNIANS: O’Grady; Bacuzzi, O’Mahony, Field, Herrick; Sweeney, Bayliss; Eadie, Wiggington, Barnby, Wallace.

Sub: Davenport for Wallace.

GLASGOW CELTIC: Fallon; Craig, Gemmell; Murdoch, McNeill, Hay; Johnstone, Wallace, Connolly, Lennox, Auld.

Subs: Hughes for Hay, Callaghan for Connolly, Hood for Auld, Davidson for Johnstone.

Referee: D Barrett (Cork).

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